EORL CRABTREE can’t wait to play in the toughest game of his career!
The 27-year-old Giants prop, pictured, will come off the bench for England to face the might of Australia for the first time in today’s Four Nation’s clash at Wigan’s DW Stadium (2.30).
Crabtree knows it’s going to be the biggest challenge he’s ever faced.
But having dreamed of playing against the Kangaroos from a very early age, the former Underbank and Huddersfield YMCA junior can’t wait to take to the field.
“Running onto that field and seeing the green and gold shirts in front of me is going to be an amazing experience, I’m certain of that,” said an excited Crabtree.
“It’s something I’ve dreamed about throughout my career, because this is the highest standard of competition you can face in the world. Playing in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley the other month was incredible, but playing against Australia in a Test match has to be the highlight of my career so far. It’s the pinnacle of our game.
“And I also believe I’m ready to play.
“This is finally my chance to prove to myself that I’m as good as anyone in my position, because this really is the ultimate test.
“I know how tough it’s going to be and that when I take the ball up for the first time it’s going to feel like I’m running into a brick wall, but I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a number of years and I’m desperate to make the most of it.
“I now feel I’m an established member of the England squad and I’m starting to get the recognition I deserve in the game. I just hope I can produce a performance that can back that up.”
Although Crabtree has never faced Australia before, he has squared up to New Zealand.
That came in 2006 when he was in a junior England side that took on the Kiwis at Warrington ahead of a three Test series against Great Britain.
Crabtree admits the strength of the opposition made a lasting impression, and is a taste of things to come.
“To be perfectly honest, I know very little about the Australian team,” he added. “I haven’t had the chance to watch the game over there since Sky TV stopped covering the Australian NRL, so I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to identifying the players and knowing what their strengths and weaknesses are.
“But I obviously know they are all world-class players and deserve the ultimate respect, which is exactly what I’ll be giving them.
“I know I’m going to have to give the performance of my life to match them.”